Skip to comments.Clinton adm. blocked intel: known Al-Qaeda flight students lived openly in San Diego
Posted on 09/23/2002 10:27:24 AM PDT by Havisham
Agent: FBI Never Got 9/11 Data
By Bill Gertz
The Washington Times | September 23, 2002
An FBI agent told Congress yesterday that days before September 11 he complained to FBI headquarters that "someone will die" because senior bureau officials refused to permit him to pursue one of the men who later took part in the Pentagon suicide attack.
The New York-based FBI agent told a joint House-Senate hearing on the intelligence failures of September 11 that he and other FBI agents were denied CIA intelligence information on Khalid Al-Mihdhar and Nawaf Al-Hazmi.
The two al Qaeda terrorists would end up aboard the aircraft that flew into the Pentagon in a suicide attack.
The CIA had identified the two terrorists from a meeting in Malaysia in January 2000 but never informed the FBI, officials testified yesterday.
The FBI agent said a bureaucratic "wall" prevented intelligence from being shared in a criminal investigation of the two terrorists.
"This resulted in a series of e-mails between myself and the FBI headquarters analyst working the matter," the agent said.
The agent sent an e-mail message to headquarters complaining about the information blockage on Aug. 29, 2001: "Whatever has happened to this, someday someone will die, and, wall or not, the public will not understand why we were not more effective in throwing every resource we had at certain problems. Let's hope the national security law unit will stand behind their decisions then, especially since the biggest threat to us now, [Osama bin Laden], is getting the most protection."
The FBI agent's testimony is among numerous intelligence failures related to the September 11 attacks now being probed by Congress.
Earlier, Eleanor Hill, the staff director of the congressional panel, testified that numerous intelligence signs were missed.
Neither the CIA nor FBI was able to "see the potential collective significance of the information, despite the increasing concerns throughout the summer of 2001 of an impending terrorist attack," Mrs. Hill said.
The testimony made clear that legal restrictions that prevented sharing intelligence information that could be used in legal prosecutions were a major impediment in pursuing terrorists.
Mrs. Hill stated in testimony yesterday that Al-Mihdhar and Al-Hazmi lived openly in San Diego after being linked to al Qaeda in Malaysia. The two used their names on an apartment lease, took flight lessons and obtained and renewed visas.
The two men were placed on the State Department's watch list on Aug. 23, 2001, and the FBI in New York was prevented from investigating the two men.
The FBI agent and a CIA officer testified at the congressional hearing from behind a glass enclosure to obscure their identities.
After learning that Al-Mihdhar was one of the September 11 attackers, the FBI agent said: "I was upset. I remember explaining this is the same Khalid Al-Mihdhar we had talked about for three months."
The FBI was faulted at the hearing for failing to pursue an FBI agent's warning in a memorandum from Phoenix that U.S. flight schools should be investigated for possible al Qaeda terrorists. It was also blamed for refusing to obtain a surveillance warrant for a computer used by Zacarias Moussaoui, who has been charged in the September 11 plot.
The CIA did fully share its intelligence about the January 2000 terrorist meeting in Malaysia with the FBI, which was investigating the bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000.
The Clinton administration imposed new restrictions that prohibited sharing intelligence information with criminal investigators, according to U.S. officials. The restrictions were lifted after September 11.
Mrs. Hill, the inquiry staff director, testified that the CIA and FBI had no information linking 16 of the 19 hijackers to terrorism or terrorist groups before the attacks.
Al Qaeda terrorist leaders may have selected the terrorists because they were not well known to authorities, she said.
In addition to Al-Mihdhar and Al-Hazmi, U.S. agencies had information about Al-Hazmi's brother, Salim Al-Hazmi.
According to Mrs. Hill, the CIA was unaware that the National Security Agency, which conducts electronic eavesdropping, had gathered information on Nawaf Al-Hazmi, linking him to al Qaeda.
The NSA failed to share the information with the CIA, she said.
According to testimony yesterday, the CIA learned in March 2000 that Nawaf Al-Hazmi came into the United States through Los Angeles International Airport on Jan. 15, 2000.
Or perhaps a cold, calculated, deliberate, perfidious decision by Slick Willie and his cronies. The ghost of Slick Willie remains, and not one of these dirt bags will ever be held accountable, not one.
Yes. Bingo. I think you are 100% correct.
As for, as others have brought up, why we didn't respond more quickly as we saw the threat headed our way, obviously its incompetence, but you can see that the problem is still with us.
Our efforts to go and get the baddies are undercut at every step by politicians and press. "Of course" we all want to get the bad guys, "but" what we are doing won't work, can't work, will only make it worse, violates the constitution, and on and on.
In the face of this barrage the easiest answer is immobility. It is only in the post-9/11 climate that we are able to muster the political will to do anything at all.
We live in an era in which survival is politicized, in which only suicide is uncontroversial.
Or ass covering...
I think you are right. His later public embrace of Putin may be in part Condi's doing, but I can't help but think it was in reaction to his treatment by the Euros. They were so contemptuous, I was thinking then he should diss them and go for Putin. When he actually did it, though, I almost fell over.
Could be a case that it was not planned, just his instincts led him to do the right thing. Looking back from the post-9/11 world, thank God he did.
Oh, yeah, that too. Big time.
We certainly didn't contemplate regime change anywhere prior to 9/11. You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to note that our relations with the Saudis, pre-9/11, were unnaturally close. The Saudis were a virtual protectorate, and a Saudi citizen had all the privileges of a US citizen, except voting. And since they were business partners with most of our rulers, key senators, defense department guys, top CIA guys, etc, who needs to vote?
Coming out of the eighties, when the US/Saudi partnership had beaten the Soviets in Afghanistan, this rather incestuous relationship may not have seemed so perverse. But precisely because so many of our leaders found themselves business partners with the Saudis, our leaders were slow to see the shift as our "proxies" began to turn on us.
This is similar to the situation with the Chinese, where people on both sides of the aisle have been corrupted by, not just direct Chinese money, but worse, partnerships in business ventures in China.
Such things are usually legal, but cannot help but corrupt the process. It blinds our pols to the threat coming from their personal friends and business partners.
Post 9/11, the Saudis are very much in danger. Eyes are opened, and the warmth some Americans felt toward them has gone. The overthrow of Saddam may very well have repercussions in Riyadh, and there isn't much sympathy for them. I am predicting the end of the monarchy, post-Saddam, and I think they do too, which is why the Saudis oppose intervention.
What the hell, Giuliani took on the destroyed City College of New York six years ago, and it's only now turning around after getting rid of much of the liberal infection. Now try that on two National Bureaus of secrecy. What do you do for a living sell tickets at the local cineplex? V's wife.
Do you have any parents I can speak to? I've been mistaken in my appraisal of you all along and you are proving to be a mere juvenile, craving attention rather than discourse.
Your formulative years could be much better spent hanging out in the girl's room during recess, trash talking the cheerleaders, than receiving constant correction here on FR - in all fairness, this environment is just not good for your, um, self esteem or something I'm sure - ask your parents, they'll explain.
Now, they acknowledge the problem when they were informed of that situation back in 1993 from an unidentified concerned Serb.
Clearly thats not what I meant... what I intended to say is that, until very recently in the post 9/11 world, a Saudi had almost all the rights of an American, while in America. I was referring to the fact that a Saudi did not have to apply for a visa to come to the US, he could simply board the plane. US Customs and Immigration tended to treat them with kid gloves.
Saudis have typically been allowed to come and go at will. They were, after all, Saudis.
One of the last minute "jokes" Clinton played on President Bush (and America)- on the day after the electoral college elected President Bush, Dec. 19, 2000 - Clinton went to the UN and demanded new, tougher sanctions on the Taliban if they didn't hand over Osama bin Laden in 30 days. Even Kofi bawked, but went ahead and acted...after pulling all UN workers out of Afghanistan...he, and Clinton knew how the Taliban and Osama would react. The 30 day grace period ended Jan. 19, 2001, President Bush's inaugeral eve.
Clinton then went on to put our oil reserves in ANWR and clean coal off limits, put his own people in as the nation's "cybersecurity" experts to supervise the nation's computer threats, allowed advanced computer technology sales to China, added a few political stinkbombs with the new arsenic regulations, roadless initiatives, etc.
Clinton skipped out the door with more than the W's on the keyboards, truckloads of documents, and gifts meant for the White House. I think the "pardon scandal" was press cover for the real scandal of Clinton's last days....intentionally undermining our national security.
I don't gloat over that either, but maybe this is what He meant when He said vengeance is mine, says the Lord.
The very infection I feared.
No. I've shoved your "Bosnia was behind 9-11" lies back in your face and all you can do now is scurry off to other threads and lay them out for other people who aren't familiar with your moral, ethical, and intellectual shortcomings.
You're a poseur, not a poster.
In the Asian edition of "The Wall Street Journal," Marcia Christoff Kurop, former editor of the "Defense News" weekly, considers the Balkans as a source of funding for suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda network.
Kurop says that by taking advantage of the unsettled diplomatic situation following the Bosnia and Kosovo conflicts, Al-Qaeda has "burrowed [its] way into Europe's backyard." Kurop writes: "For the past 10 years, the most senior leaders of Al-Qaeda have visited the Balkans, including bin Laden himself.... The Egyptian surgeon-turned-terrorist leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri has operated terrorist training camps, weapons of mass destruction factories and money-laundering and drug-trading networks throughout Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Bosnia."
Kurop goes on to note that the Kosovo Liberation Army, which received U.S. and NATO military support during the conflict, may have also had ties to drug-trafficking and Islamic terrorism. Kurop writes: "With the future status of Kosovo still in question, the only real development that may be said to be taking place there is the rise of Wahhabi Islam -- the puritanical Saudi variety favored by bin Laden and the fastest growing variety of Islam in the Balkans. Today, in general, the Balkans are left without the money, political resources or institutional strength to fight a war on terrorism. And that, for the Balkan Islamists, is a godsend."